It turns out that the lightning strike I encountered back in August toasted my DirectTV unit. Not totally, mind you, but enough that it was acting really wonky. Couldn’t get some channels any longer, sometimes it would reboot for no reason and the 30 second skip simply takes you to either the end or the beginning of your recorded show no matter what adjustments you try to make to it.
So I ended up with a very similar unit, a Phillips DSR708 Series 2 DirecTivo. I’m not sure if its modem chipset is more robust than my original one but I haven’t had NEARLY the issues connecting that I had before.
I did have to take it over to a friend’s house to do initial programming – just plugged the unit into their TV and Phone line (Thanks Keith and Zena!) and allowed the programming to proceed. I also gave it a “212” area code as, from what I’ve read in various newsgroups and web articles, that seems to be an area code that folks are having the most luck with in connecting DirecTivo over VOIP.
I haven’t bothered to tabulate the success rate of my manually initiated calls but it was pretty low when I first installed the unit at the end of August, 2005. However I’ve noticed that the scheduled updates seem to be hitting about a 50% success rate.
Either Vonage changed something or, as I said, the new unit’s modem is better, but here are my settings in case they can help anybody else:
Unit: Phillips DSR708
Dial-in 1-212-271-7103 (even though I live in a 770 area code)
Dial Prefix ,#096
Call Waiting Prefix *99,
Phone Avail Detection Off
Dial Tone Detection On